My daughter recently had her ninth birthday. It’s amazing to me how quickly the years go by! I’m a very sentimental person and whenever my kids have a birthday, I try to think back about what we’ve done each year to celebrate their special day.
Often I think of each of their birthday parties: which theme they picked or what their cake looked like. As we were doing this for my daughter’s birthday a few weeks ago, my husband commented that he never had themed birthday parties as a kid. My son said, “Wow, Dad. I feel sorry for you!”
It made us laugh because there are so many ways to celebrate a birthday, but these days it seems like themed parties are the norm. Since this was on my mind, I’ve compiled some unique and creative ways for us to celebrate a child’s birthday:
Have a Party for a Charitable Organization: When my daughter turned seven a few years ago, I had very little desire to have a big party where she would receive dozens of gifts for which we had no need or space.
At the time, our family volunteered regularly for a charitable organization in our community called Leigh’s Blankies. My daughter absolutely loved participating. I approached her about still having a birthday party, but asking her friends to purchase a Leigh’s Blankie in lieu of a gift for her. She jumped on the idea! My friend, who runs the organization, came to the party to teach my daughter’s friends all about it and brought blankies for guests to purchase. She also made mini-blankets as favors for the girls and their baby dolls. It was such a hit and benefitted a great cause.
Think about and research local causes that your child and his/her friends can be excited about. Food pantries, animal shelters and programs for youth are great ideas.
Plan an Adventure: Visit a unique destination of your child’s choice. Investigate state and local parks or historical sites. Visit the zoo or a botanical garden. Check in to local museums. It doesn’t have to be far or expensive to be fun. (If you have a fourth grader, the National Parks Service offers a free year-long pass to any of its parks.)
Go on a Culinary Quest: Research ahead of time which restaurants in your area have free birthday perks, like a free entrée or dessert. Some may require you to register for their e-mail list or rewards club in advance, so give yourself enough time for that. Bon appetit!
Plant a Tree: Planting a tree is a great way to mark the passage of time. You’ll have fun watching it grow alongside your child.
Plan a Coming-of-Age Activity: I have a friend whose daughter recently became a teenager, so she took daughter to a spa for a teen facial and makeup lesson to celebrate her birthday.
Think of age-appropriate activities that celebrate a new level of maturity in your child, such as the next level up on toys/games or Legos; operating electronics, mechanics or appliances, etc.
You could also give a special gift to mark the new year of life, such as a purity ring or other piece of special jewelry, a bedroom makeover or special book or journal.
Birthdays are such special days for our kids. We don’t have to break the bank finding a way to celebrate them and we don’t have to do what everyone else does. We should celebrate birthdays in a way that’s special and unique for our child.
I’d love to hear if you use any of these ideas or come up with some of your own. Feel free to leave a comment. However you choose to celebrate, have fun and take lots of pictures!